The state of Israel frequently evicts Palestinians from areas it occupies, in particular in East Jerusalem or in the West Bank, usually on the basis of laws which favour Jewish settlers.

In international law, "forced evictions constitute gross violations of a range of internationally recognized human rights", "should only be carried in exceptional circumstances", and that "individuals affected by evictions orders have a right to adequate compensation for any loss of property and that evictions should never result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights."

In the case of the forced eviction of Palestinians, does the state of Israel usually offer adequate relocation or compensation to the affected people?

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    The phrasing of this question seems to strongly indicate that you are expecting a certain answer.
    – James K
    May 22, 2022 at 19:48
  • 4
    @JamesK not particularly, actually. To my knowledge Israel strives to maintain democratic principles, and succeeds to a good extent given the circumstances. On the other hand, the country embraces religious discrimination, so I'm curious to know how this works. I'm happy to improve the phrasing if you have any suggestion, but if this is about using terms like "discriminating" and "human rights" I think that they factually describe the context for a reader who's not familiar with it.
    – Erwan
    May 23, 2022 at 10:09
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    It seems clearly biased. It start with a paragraph which states that Israel "evicts" people on the basis of "discrimating laws": Ie it frames the question by stating that "Israel is in the wrong". It then describes why evictions are wrong. Again, it emphasises that the framing of the question is "Israel is in the wrong". Then it asks the question, making a subtle shift from "eviction" to "forced eviction". These are all characteristics of "push questions" in which the questioner is clearly hoping to obtain a certain answer. @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica
    – James K
    May 23, 2022 at 19:16
  • 4
    @JamesK can you suggest a neutral rephrasing which explains the same situation and doesn't use these words please? The fact that these words have a negative connotation doesn't make them subjective, sometimes the correct word is negative. For example what Russia is doing in Ukraine is truly a war, and it's not an interpretation to say it. Also if there is a difference between eviction and forced eviction I don't know it, as far as I know an eviction is rarely voluntary.
    – Erwan
    May 23, 2022 at 21:45
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    @JamesK I agree that this is a push question. Referring to East Jerusalem as "occupied" and implying that its residents are "settlers" pretty much seals the deal for me. I am voting to close. I'll consider reopening if the question is edited to describe the facts more carefully.
    – wrod
    May 25, 2022 at 0:07

3 Answers 3


The answer is that it depends. The region that was Palestine is now divided into several political entities with its own jurisdictions and laws. There is the Israeli state within the pre-1967 borders, the annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the (remainder of) the West Bank which is further subdivided into Area C, where Israel exercises domestic jurisdiction and Area A&B, where (on paper) the Palestinian Authority exercises domestic jurisdiction.

In each of these, Palestinians (except for the Golan Heights where no or few Palestinians live) have been evicted by Israel. Whether they have been offered "adequate compensation" for leaving their homes has depended on the circumstances and on what one consider "adequate" compensation. The total number of eviction orders since the creation of the Israeli state in 1948 must be in the thousands so I'll provide three examples to illustrate my point. Note also that during the 1947-1949 Palestine war, Israeli forces deported tens of thousands of Palestinians, whose land and property were subsequently seized by the Israeli state with the legal backing of the Absentees' Property Law. These Palestinians and their descendants - who now number in the millions, most of whom are refugees - have not been compensated and how to fairly restitute them is one of the main issues of the "Palestine Question".

In 1967, Israel captured the West Bank and shortly thereafter razed the Mughrabi Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem and evicted its inhabitants to make room for the Western Wall Plaza. The whole quarter was the property of the waqf that administers the al-Haram al-Shariff (Temple Mount). Each of the families evicted was offered 100 to 200 Jordanian dinars. Thomas Philip Abowd writes (Colonial Jerusalem, p. 132):

With the belated arrival of written orders of expropriation came an Israeli offer of “compensation” to those whose homes were demolished. The mukhtar [mayor] related that some of the residents of the Moroccan Quarter community took the compensation. But most, including his family, have refused the money on principle to this day. The official Israeli notification estimated that the mukhtar's property was worth 200 Jordanian dinars, a sum not even remotely approaching the value of his home.

The Negev Bedouin in southern Israel have long been a thorn in the eye of the Israeli state. For decades it has tried to settle pastoral Bedouin tribes in Bedouin towns constructed for the purpose. Rahat is one such settlement. The question of Bedouin land ownership is a difficult one because the Bedouin have traditionally not kept official documents of land ownership. Despite this, their claim to land has historically been respected. Thus, Israel has often offered them land plots in the Bedouin cities in exchange for giving up their ancestral land:

In the early 1960’s, the Israeli government began a process of relocating the Bedouin to “townships” in order to put an end to Bedouin land claims in the Siyag and “free up” the land for the state.25 Moshe Dayan, the Minister of Agriculture at the time, said, “We should transform the Bedouin into an urban proletariat... this phenomenon of the Bedouin will disappear.” The idea that the Bedouin should be able to choose a rural, agricultural life, like the kibbutzim and moshavim that were sprouting up in the Negev, was off the table. 26 This relocation was accomplished by offering to compensate Bedouin for the land claims if they agree to relocate. Nevertheless, most Bedouin refused the meager compensation for the loss of their lands and traditional lifestyle, and more than 3,000 land claims remain unresolved.

However, in 2018, Israel convinced the about 350 villagers of Umm al-Hiran to relocate in exchange for an unspecified amount of compensation. According to some villagers, they were acting under duress. A few months prior to the agreement Israeli forces had shot to death a local Bedouin math teacher during a demonstration against the planned demolition of the village. According to previous reports, the compensation included 800 m^2 of land in Hura, a nearby Bedouin town, and up to NIS 200,000 ($57,264) to every family evicted.

A third example is the villages of Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron hills in Area C in the West Bank. Israel in the early 1980s declared the 3000 hectare land Firing Zone 918 - a closed military zone. I believe the legal backing of the order stems from the Emergency Regulations adopted by the British in 1945 and as such the military is free to declare Palestinian territory "closed military zones" and evict the inhabitants without offering any compensation at all. However, Israel has offered to let Masafer Yatta's community continue working their land for two non-consecutive months per year and on Jewish holidays. The community rejected the offer.

Be wary of selection bias. People that Israel "adequately compensates" for forcibly evicting them are less likely to complain about it and thus less likely to be in the news.

  • 1
    FWIW a Jordanian Dinar was worth about 3.3 USD back in 1980(but later got pegged to the USD at 1.4). May 23, 2022 at 16:16
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    Regarding the Bedouin Tribes, it must be stated that they traditionally don't live by the rules of "land ownership", many of them are constantly moving their tents from one place to the other in the wilderness / desert, etc. So there is certainly no anology to Kibbutzim. It would maybe be interesting to discuss how different democratic countries are treating such types of tribes (In Africa, South America, the Far East, etc.).
    – Jacob3
    May 23, 2022 at 17:13
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    Indigenous is not the same as nomadic/pastoral. "Indigenous agreements" don't really serve as much of an example here, unless they apply to indigenous people that happen to be nomadic as well. Past historical arrangements with Bedouins certainly do apply. Google up nomadic problems land rights and there is no lack of problems being referred to, nothing all that specific to Israel. May 24, 2022 at 22:29
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    The usage of the phrase "historical Palestine" is being discussed on meta.
    – Philipp
    May 25, 2022 at 22:41
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    @BjörnLindqvist There's little to no correlation between signing something and understanding what you've signed. Nor does some general idea that this chunk of land is ours necessarily correlate to the systems of carefully measured, personally owned land being offered, which is likely to be much more invasively enforced today than previously on land historically considered worthless, like that of the Bedouins and Saami.
    – prosfilaes
    May 28, 2022 at 5:38

There are at least two definitions of "eviction" that can function for speaking about Israel and Palestine,

  • Private parties take land they have a prior "legal" claim for, and evicts residents with the power of the state.
  • The state takes land without needing a prior "legal" claim and evicts residents. This case of eviction without a prior-legal claim is simply eminent domain and all states including Israel do it, and disproportionately to minorities without power usually with some form of compensation.

Sheikh Jarrah

Israel is unique in having apartheid laws that allow evictions with very dubious legal claims. That unique quality is likely what this question is asking about. Take for instance Sheikh Jarrah linked above. The short of it is,

  • In 1948 during the Nakba/Israel's independence war, Israel occupied the territory.

  • At the conclusion of the war, Jordan annexed East Jerusalem as part of an armistice. Jordan built homes; Palestinians moved in them in 1956. Some of those Palestinians were refugees that lost their home when Israel stole the property under the Absentee Law: if you fled your home during the 1948 War rather than engaging in combat for either side, you were Absentee and your land could be stolen.

  • In 1967 during the 6-day war Israel re-asserted control and took the territory.

    War over the borders broke out again in 1967 between Israel and several of its Arab neighbors. At the end of the "Six-Day War," Israel had occupied east Jerusalem, including Sheikh Jarrah, and in 1980, it annexed the territory. Most countries still do not recognize Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem.

So after 1967 the territory fell to Israeli control after Jordan built homes and Palestinians lived there, (and continued to move there as a place of refuge).

Fast forward,

The [Israeli] settlers say they have a legal right to the land based on an Israeli law that permits Jews to recover property abandoned during the war in 1948. There is no equivalent law for Palestinians, who have been unable to reclaim land they abandoned or were forced to leave during the war.

In this case, the Israeli state treats special one claim to land held prior to 1948, the Jewish claim to land. If this law were applied to Palestinians, Israel would shrink to the size of a territory no bigger than the UN 1948 partition plan. However, this special apartheid-esque law for Jews means that an Israeli corporation can buy supposed Ottoman land deeds, and start a judicial process to evict people who have resided on the property as owners for decades.

So what did the residents of Sheikh Jarrah get? Nothing, according to the Times of Israel the floated compromise was if they sacrifice their claims of ownership and acknowledge that their property is owned by Nahalat Shimon the Supreme Court would protect their rents at below-market rates. But in the worlds of one of residents, “I’m not a protected tenant, I’m the rightful owner.”

And this isn't unique, according to Ir Amim, a human rights group focusing on Jerusalem, around 200 families in East Jerusalem are under similar threat of eviction, with cases slowly moving through administrative bodies and Israeli courts. The territorial liability under this current dubious apartheid-esque law for of dispossession would include all of the West Bank. A court need only legitimize any document which shows the transfer of property to a Jewish family from the start of the Ottoman Palestine in 1516 until 1948.

All that to say, that what the rest of the world calls an "eviction" and thinks of as unjust, Israeli courts often claim to have a legal and moral authority for and consequently compensation isn't awarded. They, rather uniquely, have created and enforced laws which allow them to proclaim a family residing for decades in a house they have always thought to own, are mere squatters because a claim to title that precedes the formation of the state itself.

Absentee laws, and other laws

Just to be clear, and to answer a blatant distortion in the comments,

  • Jordan's "Custodian of Enemy Property didn't sell property. It was a custodian.
  • Israel claims land held by non-Jews pre-1948 who fled the violence and Zionist terrorism during the Independence War, are "absentees". Absentees have no right to use nor enjoy their property. Even if they later find themselves on that property, they're only "present absentees". Moreover, if they didn't return to that property by April 1952 the state of Israel can expropriate (steal) that property for the use of settlement or security (and Israel at times has claimed the whole West Bank is used for security).

To summarize this,

  • That is to say, if you're a Palestinian who owned property before 1948 and you were not on the property by 1952 you are an "absentee" and your property is subject to expropriation, you have no right to use and enjoy the property unless you're also a citizen, and those in East Jerusalem (and the West Bank and Gaza) are not citizens of Israel.
  • If you're an Israeli, who for whatever reason was not on that property by 1952 (as in the case of Jordanian annexation), you're not an absentee. It's still you're property. You can use and enjoy the property because even if you're not a citizen (yet) the Law of Return (another thing Palestinians can't do) allows you to apply for citizenship.

But the Absentee laws were only one way to take depopulated land, there is a whole book on this called Ruling Palestine, A history of the legally sanctioned Jewish-Israeli seize of land and housing in Palestine which is jointly published by Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Right. You want to look at " Laws enacted to legalise further acquisition of Palestinian lands, and related laws",

  • Land (Acquisition for Public Purposes) Ordinance (1943)
  • Jerusalem Military Government (Validation of Acts) Ordinance, 5709-1949
  • Development Authority (Transfer of Property) Law, 5710-1950
  • State Property Law, 5711-1951
  • Roads & Railways (Defence & Development) (Amendment) Ordinance, 5711-1951
  • Cultivators (Protection) Ordinance (Amendment) Law (1953)
  • Candidates for Agricultural Settlement Law, 5713-1953
  • Rural Property Tax Ordinance (Amendment) Law, 5714-1954
  • Plant Protection Law, 5716-1956
  • Prescription Law, 5718-1958
  • Town Planning Ordinance (Amendment) Law, 5719-1959
  • Water Law, 5719-1959
  • Leasing of Land (Temporary Provisions) Law, 5719- 1959
  • Land (Settlement of Title) Ordinance (Amendment) Law, 5720-1960
  • Property Tax and Compensation Fund Law, 5721-1961
  • National Parks and Nature Reserves Law, 5723-1963
  • Land Appreciation Tax Law, 5723-1963
  • Public Housing Projects (Registration) (Temporary Provision) Law, 5724-1964
  • Planning and Building Law, 5725-1965
  • Rehabilitation Zones (Reconstruction and Evacuation) Law, 5725-1965
  • Agricultural Settlement (Restrictions on the Use of Agricultural Land and Water) Law, 5727-1967
  • Land (Settlement of Title) Ordinance (New Version), 5729-1969
  • Land Law, 5729-1969
  • Legal and Administrative Matters (Regulation) Law (Consolidated Version), 5730-1970
  • Tenants’ Protection Law (Consolidated Version), 5732-1972
  • Olim (Accommodation in Rented Dwellings) Law, 5725-1974
  • Mikve Yisrael Agricultural School Law, 5736-1976
  • Antiquities Law, 5738-1978
  • Negev Land Acquisition (Peace Treaty with Egypt) Law, 5740-1980
  • Public Land (Removal of Squatters) Law, 5741-1981
  • Galilee Law, 5748-1987
  • Development Towns and Development Zones Law, 5748-1988
  • Jerusalem Development Authority Law, 5748-1988
  • 2
    What a blatant distortion of facts. Israel recognizes land ownership of Palestinians who aquired Jordanian title over Jewish land confiscated by Jordan in the 1948 war. That's why the historic Jewish qaurter of Hebron is now almost 100% Palestinian. The Palestinians of Sheikh Jarah didn't aquire Jordanian title over the property, they merely rented it from Jordan's "Custodian of Enemy Property", which was taken over by Israel in 1967. en.kohelet.org.il/publication/…
    – Jacob3
    Mar 4 at 18:30
  • (i've addressed the above comment in a subsequent edit under "Absentee laws, and other laws") Mar 5 at 14:00
  • 1
    Adding more lies will not change the facts. Israel paid over 10b Shekels in compensation for "Present Absentees", in addition to over 54k dunams of land for the relocation of "present absentees". camera.org/article/sheikh-jarrah-the-facts
    – Jacob3
    Mar 5 at 22:08
  • If your point that you can sell land to Israel too as an absentee, then sure! That happens a lot. But this question is on evictions (which are forceful) so logically I'm covering the two most popular scenarios in which they (evictions) take place -- one by way of laws that legitimize land theft with moral claims (even and often only because of immoral laws), the other by way eminent domains which is typically done with a claim to necessity and no moral claim. Mar 5 at 22:14


Does Israel offer relocation or compensation to evicted Palestinians?

As a rule no. The entire country of Israel as a rule is built on top of Palestinians homes and lands. There are exceptions, a small faction of Jews who immigrated to Palestine and purchased lands prior Israel's war of independence, a very small fraction indeed. As a rule you can ask an Israeli if he knows the name of the Palestinian who used to own his home, or the land his home is built upon, and often times they did, or used too. Don't know now. Confiscation after the 47 war is the vast majority of cases. But not isolated to the 47 war of coarse, after most Israeli wars, including 2024 Gaza war, Israel takes more homes, more lands from the Palestinians. Hell the Israelis take lands even when their is peace. Historically Israel either kills the inhabitants, or forced them to flee in fear of being killed, or forcedly removed them from their lands. Israel has done all of the above. The Israeli's were doing that in 1947, and they are still doing it this week in West Bank. Once Palestinians are removed they are not compensated. Then they are kept from returning to their homes by force of arms. That's the basis of the entire troubles. If you understand that then you understand 90% of the conflict.

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